The Bay Bridge - now with a soaring, signature tower anchoring the new east span - is finally open.
At 10:15 p.m. Monday, Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol took down barricades at on-ramps and interchanges and let traffic flow to the bridge for the first time since Wednesday night, when it was closed to allow construction crews to make the transition from the old east span to the $6.4 billion new span.
The bridge had been scheduled to open at 5 a.m. Tuesday. But construction went smoothly, and Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty announced at the dedication ceremony that it would open Monday night.
Soon after the first car zipped through a Fastrak lane at the north side of the toll plaza, hundreds more followed. Traffic increased as the CHP gradually opened ramps and interchanges leading to the bridge. Within a half hour, traffic was crawling toward the metering lights, which remained green. It was the new Bay Bridge's first traffic jam.